Following the 1967 occupation of East Jerusalem, Israel illegally annexed East Jerusalem but did not grant citizenship to its Palestinian population. Instead, Palestinian Jerusalemites were given the “permanent residency” status, which does not grant full citizenship rights and can be easily revoked at the discretion of the Israeli Minister of Interior. Palestinians, the original population of the city, have been threatened by policies and practices which aim to silently and forcibly displace them out of the only city they call home, by revoking their residency, many times rendering them stateless. St. Yves provides legal aid for Palestinian rights to residency in their hometown.
Freedom of Movement
Freedom of movement is a universal right to every human being. Everyone has the right to leave any country including his own, and has the right to return to his country. Furthermore everybody has the right to move freely within their own country. Palestinians, however, face restricting Israeli measures such as roadblocks, checkpoints and the separation barrier as well as arbitrary and punitive practices of closures within the West Bank and Jerusalem. When they want to leave the occupied territories – even to Jerusalem - they are confronted with discriminative profiling and their application for permits is often refused. St. Yves defends Palestinians practice their freedom of movement.
International law has a clear stance on the confiscation of private property: in occupied territories – such as the Palestinian Territories - confiscation of private property and establishing settlements by the occupying state is prohibited. Yet, in the West Bank and East Jerusalem thousands of confiscation orders have been issued by Israel during the last 4 decades of occupation, under the pretext of security and public needs. Often the land is then used to establish or expand Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands. St. Yves provides legal representation and awareness raising to Palestinian farmers and land owners against such practices.
East Jerusalem Palestinians with an Israeli “permanent residency” pay taxes and social security contributions like Israeli citizens, and as such are entitled to all social benefits from the Israeli national insurance, including unemployment, disability, widowhood and old age benefits. Despite the fact that 68.4% of the Palestinians residents of East Jerusalem live under poverty line, only a small percentage of them receive social services and benefits from the national insurance. St. Yves helps those deprived of their social and economic rights to retain them.
Adequate housing is fundamental to human dignity and is a basic human right. Since the Israeli occupation of Palestine in 1967, Israel demolished tens of thousands of Palestinian homes and structures vital to Palestinian livelihoods in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem. Today, thousands of demolition orders are pending and can be carried out any minute, causing more Palestinian families to be forcibly displaced and transferred out of their lands. St. Yves litigates against home demolitions, advocates for the right to housing and promotes planning rights for the Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
The right to family is a basic human right and families are entitled to protection by society and the State. Since the illegal annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967, Israeli citizens and residents married to residents of the Occupied Palestinian Territories were able to obtain a legal status in Israel for their spouse after an application process. In May 2002, the Israeli government froze applications for family unification. Since then it became very difficult for newly married couples to live together, and tens of thousands of requests have been unprocessed or rejected. The freeze on family unification continues today. Here, St. Yves intervenes to support couples in their struggle for their right to a family unification.
According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was ratified by Israel in 1991, a child has the right to be registered directly after birth and is entitled to health care as well as education. It is estimated that currently tens of thousands unregistered Palestinian children live in Jerusalem, as Israel does not give automatically identification to children when one of the parents is neither an Israeli citizens or a permanent resident. Hence, these children are deprived of healthcare or education as long as the child registration process has not successfully ended. St. Yves assists parents in the difficult process to register their children.
Rights Of People With Disabilities in East Jerusalem
People with disabilities in East Jerusalem are no exception to the Israeli discriminatory policies against Palestinians and suffer from discrimination in their rights and entitlements, mainly in access to services. St. Yves aims to promote and safeguard the rights of persons with disabilities in East Jerusalem, in addition to improving lobby and advocacy strategies in achieving their rights and entitlements from the Jerusalem municipality and national insurance. St. Yves provides consultation services and legal representation for persons with disabilities in East Jerusalem .